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Jim Smith

Jim Smith, a veteran of two U.S. military services (Marines and Air Force), looks like a big, tough guy, but he has a sunny disposition and a real soft spot for special people. They include his wife, their kids and 14 grandchildren, and now, added to that list, all the staff on Four Main at Rideout Memorial Hospital. While he does have a bad back from an old injury, at only 56 Jim hadn’t been expecting any life-threatening illnesses.

But this February, chest pains brought him down from his foothills home in Brownsville to the Rideout Emergency Department, and tests revealed a narrowed artery that was going to require a stent. He was whisked over to a cardiac cath lab in Rideout’s Heart Center, and from there to a patient room on Four Main.

He has much praise for Doctors Singh and Chin, but offers special compliments to the nursing and support staff on his floor, whom he calls “phenomenal and beyond.”

Sonia, Joy, Carly, Bill, Jennifer, Eric, Cinnamon, Rochelle. Denise, Lauren, Sarah. Jim ticked off the names, apologizing for not remembering them all. “I was a little out of it that first day,” he explained. “They all stood out; they were efficient, kind and friendly. I’m a pretty big clown and they could take it and give it right back to me. It cheered me up, even though some of them were carrying needles,” Jim recalled with a smile.

“And when my family came to visit, they made them comfortable, too, and reassured us all that everything would be fine. I’d been a patient years ago and remember how Rideout used to be. It’s a whole different world now; I felt like I was a VIP at the Hilton,” Jim said. “And, of course, they saved my life.”